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71-Year-Old Woman Arrested for Allegedly Attacking Husband with Hammer

Burnsville Police found Sharon Ann Ripka and her husband covered in blood when they arrived on the scene.

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A Burnsville woman has been accused of beating her husband with a phone handset and a hammer, then attempting to strangle him. 

Sharon Ann Ripka is charged with terroristic threats (which is a felony), attempted domestic assault by strangulation and interference with an emergency call (both gross misdemeanors).

On Monday, Feb. 18, at about 8:16 a.m. Burnsville police were dispatched to a residence on Galtier Drive on report of an assault with a hammer. Dispatched relayed that the caller was a woman, later identified as Ripka, who said she was tired of her husband physically abusing her so she hit him with a hammer.

According to the criminal complaint, when police arrived on the scene they found Ripka at the front door, her hands and clothes covered in blood. Her husband was nearby, staggering and bloodied, holding a blood-soaked white towel to the right side of his head. A telephone cord was wrapped tightly around his neck.

As paramedics tended to the man, he told police that the attack began around 8 a.m. when Ripka became irate because he was still in bed. He told police that he believed Ripka to be afflicted with mental illness and dementia, though she had never been diagnosed as such by a doctor. According to him, she "just went nuts."

When he attempted to call 911, Ripka beat him with the telephone and tried to choke him with the cord, then hit him in the head with a hammer. He told police that "she crushed my skull."

He also claimed that Ripka wiped excrement on his face. 

The man pleaded with EMTs on the scene to help him as they tended to his wounds.

"She's killing me," he said. "I don't want to die. I'm going to be mentally impaired because I was hit in the head."

The man sustained a large contusion to his scalp. As the investigation progressed, police noted a red, blood-like substance on the handset of the phone. What appeared to be a large blood stain was seeping into the carpet. A claw hammer was found in a pool of blood in the laundry room sink.

A third party who knew both the alleged victim and perpetrator arrived on the scene. He said that Ripka had called him and told him of the attack. In his experience, the two argued frequently but there was no history of physical violence.

Ripka was arrested. When questioned by police, she opted to remain silent. She is in custody at the Dakota County Jail on an $80,000 bond, which will be reduced to $60,000 if Ripka agrees to several conditions. If she is released, Ripka will have to submit to a full psychological evaluation and stay at least one mile away from the residence.

Her next hearing is scheduled for March 11.

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